One simple way to unlock your best self is to shape your environment so that your desired behavior is the path of least resistance.
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.”
— Joan Didion
Wherever you are right now, pause and look around you. Feel your feet on the ground. Feel the texture of the phone in your hand. Hear the sounds, near and far. Relax your eyes, open your peripheral vision, and receive light from the visual field.
Marvel at the complexity and intricacy of everything happening on it’s own. And let this next breath come as it will, with no effort from you, as if you were being breathed.
You’re here. You’re alive. This is it. What more is there to be grateful for?
“A tribe without enemies is, almost by definition, not a tribe. As a consequence, tribal dispute and warfare is part of what defines humanity.”
“Things have changed a lot since. The biggest enemy we have to fight against right now is our tribal past. What served us so well for thousands of years is now an obsolete concept. It’s no more about the survival of this tribe or that one, but about Homo sapiens as a species. … For the first time in our collective history, we must think of ourselves as a single tribe on a single planet. … We are a single tribe, the tribe of humans. And, as such, not a tribe at all.”
— Marcelo Gleiser
“Run your own race, as in: you set certain standards for yourself, and you focus on meeting them. When you meet them, you’re proud of yourself. When you don’t, you urge yourself to try harder. You don’t question your standards based on what anyone else is doing. You don’t look over at someone else’s race and think, I’m doing a bad job because you’re going faster. You just focus on your own pace.”
“Always remember that to argue, and win, is to break down the reality of the person you are arguing against. It is painful to lose your reality, so be kind, even if you are right.”
— Haruki Murakami
If you fight with reality you will definitely loose 100% of the time.
The Laughing Heart
your life is your life don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you.
— Charles Bukowski
“What is truth to one may be a disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.”
Do less but do better.
Any energy that goes into what doesn’t matter comes at the expense of what does. With a little extra time, you can raise the standard from good enough to great.
Narrow the focus. Raise the standard. And set yourself apart.
It’s more important to be helpful, than to sound smart and intellectual.
“I believe that if we are honest with ourselves, the most fascinating problem in the world is, ‘Who am I?’ Most of us feel that we are a center of awareness that resides in the middle of a bag of skin… a skin-encapsulated ego. I want to examine the strange feeling of being an isolated self…”
— Myth of Myself by Alan Watts
“Each of you is perfect the way you are… and you can use a little improvement.”
—SHUNRYU SUZUKI ROSHI
One big mistake people repeatedly make is focusing on proving themselves right, instead of focusing on achieving the best outcome.
“I notice that when all a man’s information is confined to the field in which he is working, the work is never as good as it ought to be. A man has to get a perspective, and he can get it from books or from people — preferably from both. This thing of sleeping and eating with your business can easily be overdone; it is all well enough—usually necessary—in times of trouble but as a steady diet it does not make for good business; a man ought now and then to get far enough away to have a look at himself and his affairs.”
— Harvey S. Firestone
Most problems come from our internal state.
When we are internally calm, we reason and then respond; we don’t just react. When someone slights us, we don’t lash out with angry words or angry fists. We turn the other cheek. When someone cuts us off, we give them the benefit of the doubt. When things go slower than we want, we wait patiently. When someone is passive-aggressive, we refuse to take the bait. At our best, we put behavior in perspective—both other people’s and our own. We do the right thing, not the easy thing, regardless of influence or pressure.
A calm mind is not the absence of conflict or stress, but the ability to cope with it.
Move beyond simple New Year’s resolutions and recognize that every moment of life is an opportunity to start fresh.
What if you could start your life over… now?
Few people will know if you spend your weekends learning or binge watching TV (unless you tell them on social media!), but they will notice the difference over time.
Many successful people develop good habits in eating, exercise, sleep, personal relationships, work, learning, and self-care. Such habits help them move forward while staying healthy.
I think that individuals who aim to lift others during every step of their own journey often achieve better outcomes for themselves.
“The root of all desires is the one desire: to come home, to be at peace.”
“The root of most mistakes, both personally and sort of historically, it’s one of the passions, right? Envy, lust, anger, fear, pain, worry. Those emotional states that take us out of the rational part of ourselves and into some sort of frenzied or flurried or consumed part.”
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
— Karen Lamb
We become what we consume. What you read today becomes the raw material of your thoughts tomorrow. High-quality inputs offer high-quality raw materials to assemble in the future.
A person with an environment with rich sources of information makes better choices than someone consuming low-quality sources of information. Not only do they have better raw material, but they also have a broader perspective and a calmer mind.
The same applies to food. What we eat today is what we become tomorrow. All things being equal, the person that eats healthier will live longer and avoid more problems than someone who does not.
People tend to hang around people like themselves. That explains why if your friends watch TV every night, you eventually will too. You can take this in all sorts of directions. If you spend a lot of time with people who are kind and thoughtful, you will act that way too. If you spend time with people who share a certain politics, you eventually see things similarly. It also explains why, if you start spending time with people who are unlike you in certain ways you want to cultivate, you will become like them. All of this happens without conscious awareness.
By choosing who you spend time with you are also choosing who you want to be. This is the environmental force at work on your subconscious and your biological instincts.
Curate your information diet to be rich and diverse.
Follow people who think differently than you. Read old books. Remember that what you put into your mind today is the raw material you have to work with tomorrow.
Design your environment knowing it will influence your future self.
You can easily make undesired behaviors harder and desired behaviors easier.
Understanding the invisible influence of your environment allows you to turn your desired behaviors into your default behaviors.
“The direct approach is radical. It cuts through the leaves and branches and takes us directly to the root—which is the illusion of duality and separation. Eventually, in a moment out of time, these experiments will reveal to you the wonder and simplicity of reality, just as it is.”
Being busy is another way of saying your life is out of control.
Real richness is defined by how you make your decisions, how you spend your time, and how happy you ultimately feel.
Stop fighting for goals you think you should achieve and start creating your own definition of “happy” and “rich.”
“One of the big traps we have in the West is our intelligence, because we want to know that we know. Freedom allows you to be wise, but you cannot know wisdom, you must be wisdom. When my guru wanted to put me down, he called me ‘clever.’ When he wanted to reward me, he would call me ‘simple.’ The intellect is a beautiful servant, but a terrible master. Intellect is the power tool of our separateness. The intuitive, compassionate heart is the doorway to our unity.”
— Ram Dass
The business model of Fast Fashion has led to an enormous increase in the amounts of clothes that are produced, sold, and discarded.
According to McKinsey, clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014, and the average consumer buys 60% more garments each year. At the same time, these clothes are kept only half as long as they were a mere fifteen years ago.
A staggering 100 billion items of clothing are produced each year, that’s nearly 14 items for every human being on the planet. Some of those never even reach the consumer; it caused a minor outrage when in 2018 a luxury brand admitted to burning clothes just to ‘protect the brand’.
Yet, with clothes being so cheap, people do not wear at least 50 percent of their wardrobes, according to a study.
The apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8 percent of global climate impact, greater than all international airline flights and maritime shipping trips combined.
Water usage for growing cotton has led to drastic shrinkage of the Aral sea, and dyeing and treatment of garments makes up roughly 17-20% of all industrial water pollution.